PetCare Veterinary Clinic Rustington

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You and Your Pet

Surgery and your Pet

We understand how worrying it can be when your pet needs an operation and how concerning it can be regarding the risks involved, so to minimise these risks we offer in house pre-anaesthetic blood testing and provide close monitoring throughout every anaesthetic by our theatre nurses.

We offer a comprehensive range of healthcare facilities and services for you and your much loved pet including a dedicated sterile surgical theatre and dental suite, In-House Laboratory and recovery area and radiography facility.

Informed Consent

All surgery carries a risk. Fortunately, modern anaesthetics and surgical care have greatly reduced those risks even in elderly or sick patients – yet not even the most routine procedure is entirely risk free.

On the morning of your pet’s operation the nurse, who will be looking after your pet along side the veterinary surgeon, will admit your pet. She will ask you a series of questions relating directly to your pet and ask you about his or her demeanour and general health. She will ask you to confirm that your pet has eaten nothing after 9pm the preceding day (unless rabbit, ferret or guinea pig) and ask you to confirm whether your pet has received any medication that morning and/or when they last received any medication. She will also confirm your contact details, so if needed the veterinary surgeon can contact you throughout the day to give updates and progress reports following your pets operation. The nurse will ask you to call the surgery at around 2pm to discuss your pet’s recovery progress and to arrange a discharge appointment with the nurse or veterinary surgeon.

You will be asked to sign a surgical consent form before your pet is admitted for surgery. It is essential that you fully understand the procedure that is being proposed, and reasonable assessment of the risks that are associated with it. In many cases, prior to your pets operation the vet will explain to you what the likely obstacles to a successful outcome may be. If you are at all unclear about them, you should discuss the matter further with the vet. You will also be provided with an estimate of the cost of the treatment, and the vet will inform you should this estimated figure be expected to change. Pet health care insurance can ease a substantial source of worry when major surgery is required.

Pre Operative Preparation

Unless emergency surgery is required, you should have received clear instructions on how to prepare your pet for surgery. This information entails ensuring your pet eats nothing after 9pm the evening before (except rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs – who must not be starved), cats and dogs require a period when food must be withheld; this is to prevent food in the stomach being regurgitated under the anaesthetic. We advise cat owners to ensure they are kept in overnight to prevent them hunting and/or scavenging. In some cases these exact pre operative instructions will depend on the nature of the surgery required. You will be required to bring your pet to the surgery for 8.30am and on admittance, the nurse will talk you through the consent form and clarify the details of the operation and the plan of the day.

Prior to any surgery or blood sampling, the vet will thoroughly examine your pet in order to gather as much upto date information regarding his/her general health and well-being. Pre operative blood samples can be tested prior to anaesthesia, in order to gather more comprehensive health information, and to help give peace of mind to owners. This blood test can also provide the veterinary surgeon with additional information to your pet’s requirements throughout the anaesthetic, and also provide a baseline level for your pet’s general health, which will become a useful part of his/her medical record for future reference. The vet will keep owners up to date regarding any significant findings prior to the anaesthetic.

Surgical procedure

Providing the vets are comfortable with your pet’s pre anaesthetic examination, patients are given a pre med prior to their anaesthetic. Once the animals are relaxed, the vet induces anaesthesia. An endotracheal tube is passed through the larynx and down into the trachea (windpipe) in order to maintain a clear airway and to allow the maintenance of anaesthesia with a gaseous agent.

Once asleep, the patient is closely monitored by a nurse who will constantly checking a number of parameters and indicators of the patient’s status. We can measure blood oxygen levels; blood pressure; heart rate; respiratory rate; and gases inhaled, as well as maintaining the patients temperature. These provide figurative indicators of the patient’s status, which are used in conjunction with a number of neurological tests and checks a nurse carries out throughout the anaesthetic, and until the patient is fully recovered. So both modern technology and veterinary nursing/anaesthesia skills combine to make the procedure as safe as possible.

When major surgery is being carried out, it is necessary to take steps to ensure that the pet’s vital functions are supported during the procedure. So, for example, fluids would be administered by intravenous drip, to ensure that the organs continue to receive the blood supply that they need, and the body temperature may be maintained by means of heated pads and insulating blankets.

Pain Control

Each type of pain killer we use works in a different way, and so a combination gives a much better overall relief and is also longer lasting. Apart from making the patient more comfortable, this level of pain control also reduces the depth of anaesthesia needed, hence increasing the safety margin for surgery and anaesthesia still further. Where needed, animals will continue their pain relief at home, in the form of daily tablet medication.

Post Operative Care

Your pet will stay under the watchful eye of the veterinary nurse throughout recovery. The length of stay required in the practice will depend entirely on the nature of the surgery that has been carried out, and the individual’s recovery.

The nurses watch closely, monitoring each and every animal’s recovery, ensuring that they respond as expected and as scheduled. You should expect a telephone call from the veterinary surgeon who will discuss the outcome of your pets’ operation, findings and treatment plan. You will then be asked to call back at around 2pm to arrange a time for you to collect your pet (following routine / scheduled surgery), this allows the nurses to monitor your pet further, to ensure they are recovered enough to go home.

The nurses always offer water to patient’s once they are recovered enough, although many patients refuse to show interest and the kennel area is kept as quiet as possible in order to help recovering animals. Only once the nurses are happy your pet is well on their way to recovery, will they be discharged home.

At your discharge appointment, the nurse will explain the post-operative care that your pet will require, which includes feeding routine, keeping your pet quiet; warm and comfortable, and in many circumstances, the guidance for your pet to wear a buster collar, to deter them from interfering with their operation site. Your pet’s feeding routine is very important following surgery. Following guidance from the nurse or vet, food intake should be reduced and offered frequently, allowing your pet to adjust back to normal feeding routine. This is important following a period of starvation and an anaesthetic. We recommend Royal Canin’s Recovery diet because it is nutritionally balanced, contains high levels of antioxidants to boost immune system and aid recovery and it is nutrient and calorie dense to fulfil pet’s increased requirements for maintenance and wound repair.

The nurse will also explain your pet’s medication routine, exercise routine and arrange out patient care and follow up treatment.

The nurse will also ask if she can give you a telephone call the following day, to enquire as to how your pet is coping after surgery. It is a good opportunity to discuss any concerns, or ask any questions, regarding your pet’s recovery, or to report you are happy with your pet’s progress.

Generally, pets are remarkable for how well they recover from surgery, but if you have any concerns about how your pet is doing, please don’t sit at home worrying about them, seek qualified advise without delay.

Outpatient Care

Following your pet’s surgery, you may be required to attend a follow-up postoperative consultation with the vet or the nurse. These consultations are very important to assess your pet’s progress, and offer a good opportunity to discuss recovery and or any concerns, which there may be. If your pet has stitches, these will need to be removed approximately 10-14 days after surgery. In some cases stitches are placed beneath the skin and the top layer of skin glued using surgical tissue glue. These stitches do not need to be removed as they dissolve over time.

In all surgical cases it is very important that your pet ‘takes it easy’ no matter how keen they seem to be to resume normal duties, walks off the lead and play should be restricted until further advise from the veterinary surgeon or nurse.